Demutualised building societies are being accused of creating “social lepers” by academic experts.
Newcastle University's Richard Willis is claiming former building societies close nearly three times as many branches than they open, particularly in deprived areas.
Willis says: “Building societies seem to have a social conscience. They are much closer to their communities and can survive on lower profits because they don't have shareholders.
Research suggests most of the branch closures are centred on poorer inner-city and rural areas and many of these people don't have access to a car or public transport. They will become social lepers.”